PCA and Switzerland
by Rich Sanders – Zone 9 Rep
Sometimes this monthly letter stares back at me from a blank page. At times I’m challenged to come up with a topic that I think might be entertaining, or usefully informative. And as you all know by now, I’m not really a writer. Having hit the wall this month as I was trying to find something interesting, I was forced to think about this question- “Are there common traits, across all of PCA regions, which allows members to get along so well?” And I think I came up with at least ONE answer – the courage to be neutral.
Being neutral may seem to some like a cop out. Not taking a stand. In reality though, being neutral is a position in itself, and it takes a lot of work. And I don’t think that you work to invest in being neutral unless you see the benefit of taking that decision. One of the things that I really enjoy about PCA, wherever I go, is that it has some of the same qualities of a Switzerland.
I firmly believe that within the first months of being active in just about any PCA region, it becomes clear to new PCA members that being a member of the club is about the cars and the people, and not about all of the daily distractions that are filling our media and airwaves. In fact PCA seems to provide a bit of an island, a respite, away from all of the other noise.
It’s probably safe to say that any reasonably sized gathering of Porsche owners is replete with more than its fair share of “A-type” personalities with strong opinions in just about any possible direction on any particular controversial topic. Yet, at least in my experience, subjects like politics, religion, or BMW’s (kidding on that last one), never seem to take center stage at PCA events. And in the past few years we’ve grown to the point that every region has its own social media footprint. That means that PCA discussions can emerge as fast as the weather can change here in the West. Yet, still, there seems to be a “code” that’s understood among most members- and even beyond our members when Facebook groups allow non-members to come visit our social media outlets. I’m happy to report that in the past year, I’m only aware of a handful of times that our region administrators have had to intercept a post, or have a discussion with a poster about a topic, or a bit of news, that may have stepped into turf that did not reflect the values of the club. In fact, I’ve observed in person on several occasions that when an individual wants to “go there”, others will politely steer the topic in another direction. Or defer it to a later, and more private time. This type of behavior which I see on occasion, reflects individuals protecting their PCA haven, by intervening on behalf of neutrality. It takes effort. And the benefit of the effort is in the bonding that takes place among members. Friendships get deeper. Relationships get stronger. And the club remains a healthy place.
Thanks to each and every one of you who makes the effort to keep PCA a comfortable and fun place for all of our members.
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The “Configurator Salivator”- Hurry up and wait!
by Rich Sanders – Zone 9 Rep
Awareness, Trial, Usage.
With one-half of a career dedicated to marketing, I get it. As a marketer bringing something new to the world, you spend your waking hours finding new ways to get people aware of your latest really cool thing, then you find an enticement to get them to try it, so that you can finally get them hooked into repeat purchases. So at least I’m acutely aware of where I stand in this time tested process when it comes to my relationship with Porsche cars. Here’s the problem though. I’m fortunate enough to be a repeat purchaser- a loyalist. That means I know what I want next, and have been waiting for it to exist. My shopping list was “essentially” finalized back in January 2018 when I pulled out my credit card to place a bet that something might happen in the future that would match the shopping list.
The list went like this.
#1 Mid-Engine- I’m just partial to the physics on canyon roads and the practicality for long trips with the frunk AND a trunk. #2 Convertible- Ever since selling the RS60 Boxster for the Cayman R, Julie and I have BOTH missed having a long range, top down option. #3. Classic Porsche- a six-cylinder with a manual. Yeah, it is kind of a throwback. #4 Long-term potential- just maybe the possibility of some nostalgic collectability down the road, or at least a less steep depreciation curve. By this I mean “lowish” production numbers, a six cylinder sound with sport exhaust, the last of the mid-engine 6 cylinder normally aspirated engines, and finally (with tongue firmly in my cheek) the first mid-engine 911 with a 4.0 liter engine.
If you hung in through the last paragraph, and you’ve been looking at any of the recent Porsche news, then you know that all criteria on my shopping list have now been ANNOUNCED, in the form of the 2020 Boxster Spyder (718).
Kids aren’t the only ones famous for the cry- “are we there yet??”
Just ask the Porsche sales rep who took my payment back in January 2018.
“Dear Porsche AG marketing guys. I know what I want. You’ve told me it’s real. You hung a poster announcing it, as I visited the factory in June. You brought one- a REAL ONE- to the July Porsche Parade in Boca Raton. You let me take home several posters. You hosted writers in Scotland, including our own Panorama editor Rob Sass, to enable magazine and YouTube content everywhere I look in August and September. And as of this date, I don’t even know (nor apparently does my dealer) when I will be able to place my order for a promised delivery in the spring of 2020.”
I’d never send this to them, but telling you makes me feel better!
Configurator as a pacifier.
Apparently, I only THOUGHT I knew what I wanted- until my sales guy sent me to the configurator! I’m now online at the Porsche Cars North America site, fine tuning what is probably my 10th iteration over as many hours. It seems as though those marketers are telling me “Here suck on this, you make stop crying.” Well, they may be right. And thanks to the configurator, I find that I’m waiting for an 8th generation 911 (aka 992) to show up somewhere in Utah in a new color called “Gentian Blue”- a color also offered on the 718 Spyder. I just don’t feel that I can trust that the configurator image on my monitor- without actually seeing that color “live”. So after all the crying, if the phone were to ring today, ready to take my order, I might have to eat crow and let my dealer know that I need a little more time. So giving credit where credit is due, while the marketing types may have dragged out the “hype” cycle, they also found a way to keep me engaged during the wait. I call it the “configurator salivator”. Thinking about your next new Porsche? Go online and play around with it. It comes in lots of flavors!
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Authors in our Midst!
by Rich Sanders – Zone 9 Rep
This monthly letter is being dreamt up during “Speed Week” at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Scheduled to start last Saturday, it looks like the shortened week will begin tomorrow, a Tuesday. The delay is thanks to two thunderstorms last week. Salt needs time to dry in order to become safe again for racing. Such are the narrow parameters needed to run the safest possible event for those who want to set world records. But thinking about one of the more unique records at Bonneville reminded me of a former Zone Rep, Sean Cridland. (Sean still holds a world record from “speed skiing” while strapped on the roof of a car at 162 MPH on the salt). And thinking about Sean reminded me of yet another newly minted author in our midst, Chris Lennon. And that finally led me to take stock in the overall level of talent that’s scattered throughout our regions. Let’s start there, and we’ll work back to Sean and Chris!
For those of you who have been to a Porsche Parade, you will be aware that the national awards for the prior year’s activities are announced throughout the week, at various banquets in front of nearly 1000 people. One of the really BIG awards was won by the Alpine Mountain Region. The award is the “Betty Jo Turner Award” for Best Overall Newsletter for AMR’s Mountain Passages monthly publication. Newsletters take a village to create and maintain. They also evolve in order to continually improve and pull in advertisers. So at the risk of offending those who chase down advertisers and content writers, or those who contribute to the process of getting each issue published and mailed, I’d like at minimum recognize the 2018 editor Matt Ardaiz. And realizing that it took a lot of formative years to get the newsletter to its current state, a lot of development credit should also be attributed to Bill Cosper, Matt’s predecessor for the many years just prior to Matt’s tenure. I should also mention that during tonight’s semi-annual board meeting conference call with 145 invited region President, Cindy Jacisin, PCA’s Vice President chose this award, as one of four National Awards to highlight as she recapped activities at the recent Porsche Parade. Congratulations to AMR and its leadership under Denise Jordan.
Four additional national awards within the zone were announced at the event in Boca Raton. These were awarded to the Rocky Mountain and Roadrunner Regions. The awards included a first place in the Region Website Class V category in RMR. Congratulations to Webmaster Scott Rogers. Next, RMR took 2nd place in the National Awards for Best Newsletter in a Class VI region. And Roadrunner Region also took a newsletter award; a 2nd place among Class IV regions. Nothing like a little neighborly competition with AMR, right? Congratulations to Tom Champion, newsletter editor RMR. And also to Steve Waller and Ann Mulhern who are collectively credited with a five year string of national newsletter awards. And a really special recognition to Bill Simon, who, if I understand correctly is instrumental in providing publication support for BOTH the RMR and AMR newsletters. Finally, a third national award was won by the RMR region; a 3rd place for Public Service. In other Parade competitive news, I also understand that we had two Concours entries from the RMR region who won their respective classes. Congratulations to Dave and Bette Seeland, as well as Jim and Randy Osgood!
No mention of awards won, should go without recognition of the nominations for awards NOT WON. Every year, the zone rep has the dubious expectation from PCA national leadership to pester region presidents to make or assign nominations for the top national awards. Considering and creating these nominations takes A LOT of time. And because it takes a lot of effort, no nomination gets written unless the person making the nomination truly believes that the national recognition should be warranted. Having read all of this year’s nominations it would be wrong to NOT recognize the intended recipients, and those who wrote the nominations. I’ll leave the specifics to each region announce, but special recognition should be made to Gigi Camarena and Jim Thorburn as Presidents of IRPCA and RMR regions respectively, and to John Mackin as Past President of RMR. You were all involved in one way or another in either nominating or being nominated for Region of the Year, Enthusiast of the Year, or Charity of the Year Awards. Your work is not lost on anyone, even though in each case, the BIG NATIONAL award was taken by another amongst the 145 PCA regions.
Now, coming back to recognition of mountain west PCA members who are spreading their writing talent around the world, I just want to make a short mention of two books published within the last year. I’ve purchased and read one of them and look forward to doing the same for the second. Many of you may already be aware of former Zone 9 Rep Sean Cridland’s “HURLEY: From the Beginning”, co-authored by Sean and Hurley Haywood. Sean traces his 9 years as the newsletter editor for the Roadrunner Region’s “Ramblings” as the beginning of his industry-wide Porsche-oriented article writing career. During his tenure, the newsletter placed on the PCA National Awards “podium” twice! The new book also includes a LOT of Sean’s incredible photography. Nicely done Sean.
Finally our perennial Pike’s Peak racer, Chris Lennon, from the Alpine Mountain Region, has recently released his own book titled “The Peak of Racing” (www.peakofracing.com). Chris’ most recent run up the hill was in a fully electric….wait for it….911! I’m looking forward to reading this book, as well. He added a sixth podium finish to his record (in the rain this time)! Congratulations, Chris!
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My personal version of “Car Week”
by Rich Sanders – Zone 9 Rep
Monterey has “Car Week” every August. Never been. It’s on my bucket list as an enthusiast. Sometime after I’m no longer a zone rep, I’ll get there. For now, in an effort to manage domestic tranquility, I need to be very careful how much time I put into auto-enthusiasm. Commitments to the “job” have me on the road a bit supporting PCA. Adding additional “non-PCA” car stuff to the calendar typically requires a calculated approach and some forethought into the anticipated “but why would I be interested in that?” question. So when HER friends were arranging for us to join a week-long June walking tour of London, I was pleased that this vacation would help balance things out. But then Julie asked, “Do you really want to travel all that way and spend just 7 days? So with a limit of about 12 days as a total trip length, due to a desire for Max the Berne-doodle to recognize us on our return, we looked for a 3-4 day additional excursion to “add on” to the London trip. Portugal? Italy? Southern Spain? Nope, not enough time to do any of them justice. Soooo……I meekly suggested, “what if we went to Stuttgart and hit the Porsche factory”. Expecting to maybe get smacked, I was shocked at the resoundingly positive response. As it turns out, a trip to the Ford F-150 factory near Dearborn a few years back had left a very positive impression. Who knew? And so, perhaps pushing my luck, I asked “what if we spent 3-days and also hit the Mercedes, BMW and Porsche museums as well?” AND…fly into Munich and do a bit of Autobahn driving, too? Sold! The trip was ON!
Despite living in Europe and traveling often to the UK at the time, I never really visited the core of London, particularly near Hyde Park. To my delight, this “car week” started unexpectedly before we got to Germany. While Julie and friends were taking in towers, castles, bridges, round theatres, plays, cathedrals, abbeys and funny buses, I was gawking at every possible sub-model of frustratingly traffic-stifled Lambos, Jaguars, McLaren’s, Rollers, Bentleys, Maybachs, Ferraris, and AMGs. There were even some of ‘our own’ rather pedestrian (by comparison) Porsche 992s already roaming the streets.
Then it was off to Germany. Needless to say we hit all 3 museums in four days and also did the Porsche factory tour at Zuffenhausen. Thanks to a well-informed recommendation by Chris Lennon in the Alpine Mountain Region, we stayed at Schloss-Hotel Monrepos. It’s located on a beautiful estate not far from Zuffenhausen. Just idyllic.
But wait- the ‘week’ was not over. Back in March, I received an email from Vu Nguyen, Executive Director of PCA, asking if I might be able to provide help to Porsche Cars of North America, for an event they were planning in Salt Lake City. It turns out that they had chosen the Grand America Hotel (site of the 2012 Porsche Parade for those that may have attended) and the Utah Motorsports Campus as the host hotel and road course respectively, for dealer product launch training on the 8th generation 911,- the 992. Long story short- PCNA was looking to borrow one nice example of a 911 from each of the first seven generations. The cars were to be displayed in a secure ballroom, from mid-June through mid-July. The goal of the display was to showcase the evolution of the 911 during a dramatic “reveal” of the new 992. After lots of phone calls and some arm twisting, we arranged all 7 prior generations from some very generous PCA members here in Utah. In return PCNA graciously invited those owners as well as me, to attend their training sessions. Needless to say, those two training days happened immediately upon my return from Germany, at the end of June. I’m not sure which was more impressive, the training sessions themselves or the new 992. But needless to say, the entire program was run in an extremely professional manner. Special thanks to all the PCA members who gave up your cars for a month. You know who you are.
I’m still looking forward to Monterey Car week some year. But I’m not sure how to top my own “car week” of June 2019!
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South of the Rockies, and north of the border!!!
by Rich Sanders – Zone 9 Rep
This is the third in a series of three monthly letters which collectively highlight all of the geography in PCA’s Zone 9. Our May letter highlighted the Front Range, east of the Rockies. June addressed my home geography west of the Rockies. This issue will introduce those of you not familiar, to our regions “south of the Rockies”.
Prior to this role, I had no reason to ponder where the Rocky Mountains came to an end as you head south. In 2017, when I took this zone rep “job”, I would not have guessed that a majority of the regions were neither east nor west of those mountains, but instead, south of them. Now that I’ve flown over and driven around them, I get it.
Anyway, the four regions located “south of the Rockies” are Roadrunner, Carrera, Llano Estacado, and West Texas. The largest among them is the Roadrunner region, with around 450 primary members. That’s just about the same as their neighboring Alpine Mountain Region to the north. Likewise, neighboring Carrera and West Texas regions are just about in a dead heat when it comes to membership at 90 and 89 primary members, respectively. Finally the Llano Estacado region based out of Amarillo, Texas is our beloved mini-region. Those of us “up north” might ask why the numbers drop off so much as we head south and east? There’s no big science to it. The most obvious is population. There are simply fewer potential owners. But you still have to have clubs close to the members. But beyond population, I’m certain that there are other contributing factors to the smaller club sizes. There are lots of “Porschey” things that you find a lot more of, in and around the larger Rocky mountain metro areas, that you don’t find as much of, in the more southern and eastern regions. Chief among these are Porsche dealers, race tracks, and an abundance of “Porsche roads”. Among these four regions, there was only ONE Porsche dealership until earlier this year with the opening of Porsche of El Paso. In terms of race tracks within the geographic boundaries, there are really only two available to the clubs among the four regions. Curvy Porsche roads? Well actually, there are lots of them, but they require significantly more straight-line driving to get to them from the location of the core membership in each region.
But the key point to illustrating these differences is to say that, based on my observations, members “south of the Rockies” have the same car culture enthusiasm, strong friendships, and every bit as much fun as their northern Zone 9 counterparts. Carrera region puts on their Oktoberfiesta, a 3-day track, autocross and tour event through the mountains of Western New Mexico. If you haven’t been, I recommend it. The West Texas region’s holiday party is like none other in the zone. They combine it with a multi-day drive to get to some Porsche roads in the hills. This combined annual celebration seems to be at a new location each year. Is it possible to have too much fun??? As well, they just landed (pun intended) an even bigger autocross venue at a military airstrip. And they open their arms to other car clubs to join their events. Roadrunner region opens up their autocross events to lots of non-Porsches as well. And when it come to the percent of membership that attends socials, I have no doubt that the Roadrunner Region tops every other medium to large sized region in the zone. They are an engaged crowd. And as many know the Roadrunner Region has been host to a last year’s national “Treffen Tamiya” and has hosted their own “Fiesta New Mexico” several dozen times. Finally, tiny, Llano Estacado region has weekly and monthly breakfast gatherings that are nothing less than their own local tradition. I’ve enjoyed getting to know lots of volunteers and leaders from these regions.
Shots From Around The Zone:
West of the Rockies!!!
by Rich Sanders – Zone 9 Rep
I grew up in various eastern seaboard states, spent most of my working years in the mid-west, and am now “retired” to the mountain west. With each move you are faced with lots of new terminology both regional and local. Zone 9 PCA covers both sides of the Rocky Mountain range from the Bonneville Salt Flats to the West and the Colorado Plains to the East. From North to South, our regions span from the Idaho to the Mexico border. The spine down the middle of much of the zone is the Rocky Mountains. Coloradoans along the east edge of the Rockies say they live on the “front range”. But here in Salt Lake City we say that we live along the “Wasatch front”- the west side of the local Wasatch Range. Oddly, those living on the east side, deeper into the Rockies, refer to their location as the “Wasatch back”. This month’s “In the Zone” is all about the Wasatch front, my local turf, and home to the only region in the zone to be completely located west of the Rockies.
Spats of winter weather have continued to tease the arrival of spring here in Utah. Our first off-road tour of 2019, was changed to a paved road tour due to roads not yet open due to conditions. I guess the good news is that lots more participants joined the tour with their low clearance Porsches. Called the “Pony Express Tour”, members of IRPCA made stops at various points along the original Pony Express route. The tour finished up at the Bonneville Brewery just south of the famous lake- in a town called “Tooele”. Remember I mentioned the local terminology. Well Tooele is found just west of the Oquirrh Mountains. Yeah…just try to pronounce either one these. Here’s a tutorial. Tooele = too-ill’-ah. Oquirrh = Oak’-er! Welcome to the Wasatch Front!
We got lucky on May 3 and 4, with our first track days at Utah Motorsports Campus. PERFECT weather! We were delighted to welcome drivers from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, COLORADO, and even as far as Mexico City! We had lots of new first time PCA members, several of which are hooked and heading down the slippery slope. If you are reading this and you are from east, or south of the Rockies, we really want you guys to come have some fun at UMC (formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park). It’s a fantastic facility with four track configurations, ranging from 2.1 to over 4 miles. Great facilities, with grandstands and rental day garages. If you’ve not come this direction for a track event, please consider joining us in the future. Our calendar can be found at www.irpca.org.
I’ve learned in traveling throughout the zone that we have stellar Porsche dealerships wherever I go. The Intermountain region is no different. We get fantastic support from both dealers in the region- Porsche of Lehi and Porsche Salt Lake City. So while I’m focused on my “home” region this month, I want to call your attention to the current issue of Panorama (#746). There’s a special 3 page article on Larry Moulton and Randy Yates. Larry and Randy are Porsche Master Technicians who collectively share 88 years of employment at Porsche Salt Lake City. Larry, at 74 years of age and with 53 years with the dealer, was recently awarded the “Technician Tenure Award” at a special ceremony. The award was presented personally by Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO, of Porsche Cars North America. A special IRPCA Cars and Coffee is being organized here in early June to allow club members to also recognize Larry for his tenure and accomplishments. I expect that many of our long time PCA members will have some fun stories to tell about their interactions over the years. Congratulations to Larry and Randy for their tenure working on Porsche Cars, and also to Porsche Salt Lake City, for being THAT kind of employer!
Up next month- “South of the Rockies”- a focus on the lower third of the zone.
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